Etisalat scraps buyout offer to Maroc Telecom minority shareholders

DUBAI Fri May 23, 2014 2:04pm EDT

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Etisalat ETEL.AD, which this month bought a 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom (IAM.CS), has scrapped an offer to buy the remaining shares in the Moroccan firm, the United Arab Emirates operator said on Friday.

In a filing to Abu Dhabi's bourse, Etisalat said it had been exempted from making an offer to minority shareholders, which is usually required under Morocco's takeover rules.

An Etisalat spokesman separately confirmed this meant the company had now abandoned a provisional offer submitted earlier this week to the Moroccan authorities for approval.

The authorities decided that "due to public and national interest" Etisalat need not go through with its buyout bid, the spokesman added.

Etisalat paid 4.14 billion euros ($5.7 billion) for Paris-listed Vivendi's (VIV.PA) stake in Maroc Telecom, while the remaining shares are split between a 30 percent stake owned by the government and 17 percent of freely tradable shares.

Under bourse rules, acquiring companies do not need to offer minority shareholders the same price they paid in the original acquisition and Etisalat did not reveal the price per share it had proposed.

(Reporting by Matt Smith)

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